Reconstruction Reparations Petition

The right of petition is a valuable right. So is the concept of reparations for past wrongs.

Then there is this.

I think we should consider this once white southerners pay reparations to victims of Reconstruction terrorism.

File this under whiny white southerners (who are math-challenged, BTW).

h/t Kevin Levin.

(And yes, I have considered that this might be some kind of joke … like “Cuckfederate.”)

Memorials and Monuments: The World War I Competition

As you may have heard, there’s a competition going on to construct a World War I memorial in Washington, DC, just south of the Willard Hotel and east of the William T. Sherman statue in a place now known as Pershing Park, which features a statue of Black Jack as well as slabs detailing American campaigns in 1918. Five finalists have been chosen, and their proposals can be found here.

I actually like Pershing Park, although I can see that for some people it’s something of a disappointment (and I know other people haven’t a clue about the existence of that park, or the memorial to the District of Columbia’s World War I experience along the Mall, which is tucked away in obscurity between the King Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the World War II Memorial).

Mall West

Here you can see the location of both parks. Pershing Park is southeast of the White House, while the DC War Memorial is due north of the King Memorial.

As we talk about monuments and memorials, what do you think of these designs and what they are trying to say?

The Confederate Flag: Three Perspectives

Classes are now underway at Arizona State University. In the courses I teach, I ask students to read texts, evaluate arguments, discuss perspectives, and write essays on various topics. My students know that what I want to see is an argument supported by evidence that can withstand challenge (a disappointment to folks who think it’s all about students telling me what they think I want to hear). It’s not about what to think, but how to think.

So what we have below are several views of the Confederate flag. Watch them. Evaluate them. Enjoy the exercise.

Heritage Begins at Home

Lately the Virginia Flaggers have been struggling to get some positive attention. It hasn’t been easy. They’ve come under fire for a number of reasons, and the best they have offered is embarrassed silence (except, of course, from their mouthpiece, who is another sort of embarrassment altogether). They have taken solace in their go-to move of raising another Confederate Battle Flag to mark a site of a heritage defeat, and Danville, Virginia, has become an especial target, with multiple flags going up.

(Perhaps this compensates for their failure to date to mark Charlottesville in similar fashion.)

The Flaggers are making a good deal of their activities around Danville:


We see that loyal Virginia Flagger and all-around bigot Jerry Dunford, Jr., is cheering on the cause.

But Jerry has a point, and it raises an interesting question:

How many Virginia Flaggers have erected nice long flagpoles in their own front or back yards to demonstrate their Confederate heritage? After all, it’s their own private property, right?

Oh, we’re not talking about little bitty flags flying on the front porch or by the garage, folks … we’re talking about poles that are 50 feet or 75 feet in the air, complete with one of those nice big Confederate Battle Flags unfurled in the breeze. We’re talking about the homes of Susan Hathaway, Tripp Lewis, Barry Isenhour, Grayson Jennings, and Karen Cooper, for starters. And why stop there? Why aren’t these flags flying outside the businesses owned by these folks? Why has no one seen to it that one flies by Glave & Holmes in downtown Richmond? Don’t the folks of Sandston deserve to know where Susan Hathaway lives because it’s where you can find that really big Confederate flag flying over her house?

After all, some of us suspect that this exercise in erecting poles and flying flags isn’t really a celebration of Confederate heritage at all, but just a middle finger of spite and resentment. That’s what Bill Garnett’s comment above suggests. It’s not an act to honor the sacrifices of Confederate soldiers: it’s just being a thorn in the side of others.

If the Virginia Flaggers really mean what they say, they would erect these tall flagpoles in their own yards and by their own businesses. They would show us that they embrace Confederate heritage at home, instead of going all the way to Danville to annoy people.

We await photographs from Judy Smith.

George Zimmerman, Flagger?

You may recall George Zimmerman as the person who shot and killed Trayvon Martin several years ago, claiming that he was standing his ground and all that. Zimmerman was acquitted of murder … and then he started getting into trouble fairly often.

Now he’s found a new way to cash in on his fame (or infamy) … by painting Confederate flags with a message:

Not exactly celebrating the service and sacrifice of Confederate soldiers, is it?

No word on when various flagging groups will welcome Zimmerman as a fellow flaggers.

Documenting Confederate Heritage Controversies

Some historians shrug when they hear of debates over Confederate heritage (unless, in some cases, there’s a chance to be quoted in the newspaper or on a website or even–gasp!–interviewed in true sage scholarly fashion). But other people actually understand that documenting what has been happening this year is essential to understanding how Americans today think about the American Civil War and Confederate heritage. I’m calling attention to two of those efforts.

First, the Washington Post has shared a graphic from the Southern Poverty Law Center that shows users where Confederate heritage demonstrations have taken place and the number of people involved in them. Kevin Levin’s already offered his take here.

Second, Professor Kurt Luther at Virginia Tech is tracking reports of vandalism against Confederate monuments.

I’m sure that sometime in the future someone will also begin tracking reports of incidents involving the display of Confederate flags and other icons on private property. The pace of such reports has picked up in the past several months. It should go without saying that such acts challenge (and in my opinion violate) First Amendment protections, and that taking matters into your own hands (especially when it involves violence or destructive acts) is wrong. Nor do I care for acts of vandalism against Confederate monuments. Reasonable and fair-minded people already knew this.

What do you make of these exercises and the information they impart?

What Would Victory Look Like For Confederate Heritage?

Several weeks ago a well-known Confederate apologist blogger posted one of her many efforts at communication through graphics:


To be sure, it wasn’t quite as effective as this commentary on recent debates over Confederate heritage, but still, it’s worth considering on what we will generously term its own merits.

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